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Dairy Plants

Dairy plants must be designed and operated in a hygienic and sanitary manner to reduce the likelihood of contamination of dairy products.

If you are interested in constructing a provincially licensed dairy plant, this material will help you. The step-by-step process is not complicated.  

All dairy processing plants are required to have licensed dairy plant workers (application and renewal form). The fee for each dairy worker license remains at $20.00; payment can be made by cheque, money order, or credit card. All licenses are valid until December 31 of the year issued.


All dairy processing plants are required to be provincially licensed (application and renewal form). There is no fee for the dairy processing plant license. All licenses are valid until December 31 of the year issued. 


Monthly Finished Product Testing Requirements

Effective January 1, 2014 dairy plants will send their monthly finished product samples to an accredited laboratory of their choice. A letter was sent to all dairy plant operators in December 2013 outlining changes to the monthly finished product testing requirements. Included with the letter is a (partial) list of accredited food testing laboratories in the Lower Mainland (Appendix 1). Also included with the letter is a product list with the minimum required test(s) to be performed (Appendix 2).


Food-processing facilities are responsible for ensuring the products they produce are safe to consume. The HACCP system (or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is used by food processors to ensure the production of safe food. 

The HACCP system is a program which identifies and analyzes the potential food safety hazards in the food processing facility. The program then puts steps in place to ensure that those potential hazards cannot affect the final food product. The HACCP system can be thought of a system that prevents problems before they happen. 

Authority to inspect dairy processing plants located in BC is granted under the BC Milk Industry Act and delegated by the Minister of Agriculture.

How the Inspection System Works

For provincially licensed dairy processing plants, BCCDC Environmental Health Services – Food Protection Services exercises delegated authority and operates an outcome and risk based inspection system. 

This system relies on the knowledge and expertise of Food Safety Specialists who conduct on-site visits at every provincially licensed dairy processing plant to identify potentially high risk processes/situations and assess sanitary conditions. 

Additionally, all provincially licensed dairy processing plants are required to submit monthly finished product samples to an independent laboratory for rigorous microbiological and chemical testing to ensure that relevant dairy product standards are met. Appendix 2 outlines the minimum tests to be performed for various categories of finished dairy products.

Inspection Follow-Up

If a finished product does not meet its relevant dairy product standard, follow up action by the BCCDC is initiated and, depending on the case, can range from ordering a plant cleanup and follow-up inspection through to suspension of the dairy processing plant’s license to operate. 

The inspection of federally licensed dairy plants has been primarily delegated to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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